Where are they now: Sydney FC’s inaugural championship winning XI

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From coaching to security work and everything in between, we take a look at what Sydney FC’s maiden grand final winning team are up to now, 16 years on from that famous victory.

Upon becoming the first A-League Men’s club to lift the championship trophy, March 5, 2006 is naturally a date which is held very close to the hearts of Sydney FC and their fans.

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However, the starting 11 which famously prevailed 1-0 over Central Coast Mariners that day now includes two ALM head coaches, six players who made senior appearances for the Socceroos, and a certain Premier League record holder whose title was surpassed by Sergio Agüero in 2017.

Got you thinking? Well, luckily you are just about to find out where and when this coveted team are situated almost two decades after being forever etched into the history of Australian football.

Clint Bolton – Goalkeeper

After famously spending four years at Aston Villa between the ages of 12 and 16, Bolton returned home to Australia to embark on a career which spawned 12 seasons in the old NSL, four senior appearances for the Socceroos and eight seasons in the ALM. He eventually called time on his career after being released by Melbourne Heart in 2013.

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Bolton was a rock between the sticks throughout his 110 appearances for the Sky Blues, winning both club player and goalkeeper of the year in the inaugural 2005/06 season as well as claiming a second championship in 2010. Ever since his seemingly premature retirement, Bolton has ventured into radio broadcasting in Victoria alongside his involvement with Professional Footballers Australia.

Alvin Ceccoli – Left-back

The Sky Blues left-back on that famous night in 2006 had an impressive career spanning almost three decades, which was sadly cut short after an injury forced him into retirement in 2019.

In 2008, Ceccoli notably made six appearances for the Sky Blues’ grand final opposition, the Mariners, in addition to playing one season with J-League side Avispa Fukuoka after departing from the Sky Blues in 2007.

The six-time capped and one-time goalscorer for the Socceroos has now taken up an assistant coaching role with the Illawarra-based Corrimal Rangers FC, and in 2017, it was reported by FTBL that a job at an oil company balanced the former defender’s coaching commitments.

Mark Rudan – Centre-back

It should come as no surprise that the former Sky Blues defender is now in charge of Western Sydney Wanderers, after holding the reins at Western United for the club’s first two seasons in the ALM and guiding Wellington Phoenix to an elimination final in his sole season at the club in 2018/19.

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Before Rudan’s already storied coaching career and time as a pundit on Fox Sports, the Sydney FC hall-of-fame inductee joined teammate Ceccoli at Avispa Fukuoka in 2008 before departing for Switzerland the following year. He returned home to Australia in 2010, finishing up his professional career at Adelaide United.

Matthew Bingley – Midfielder

Bingley won the maiden championship with the Sky Blues during what was to be his second-last season of professional football. During a senior career which spanned two decades, the utility earned 14 caps for the Socceroos, scoring five international goals as well as being apart of their 1996 OFC Nations Cup winning side.

Like Rudan and Ceccoli, Bingley also spent a year in Japan, making 24 appearances for first-division side Vissel Kobe in the 1997/98 season. In a 2019 interview with SBS, the former Sky Blue and Perth Glory player was indecisive about who to barrack for upon his two former sides facing off in that season’s ALM grand final.

Steve Corica – Winger

The Sky Blues’ current manager was aptly the man who guided the Sydneysiders to victory in the 2006 decider, calmly sliding the ball past Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic at the hour-mark for what turned out to be the only goal of the match.

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The two-time championship winning head coach was equally, if not more successful during his time on the pitch, spending five years in England with Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, in addition to netting five goals for the Socceroos across his 32 appearances. Corica spent eight years as a youth and assistant coach with the Sky Blues before eventually taking the reins in 2018.

Sasho Petrovski – Striker

The NSL and ALM journeyman spent his entire 20-year long career Down Under with the exception of an impressive two-season stint in Denmark, in which he netted 16 goals across 53 appearances for Viborg FF. The Bankstown-born forward spent two seasons with each New South Wales ALM club existing at the time – the Sky Blues, Mariners and Newcastle Jets respectively, before hanging up the boots in 2013 after a spell with South Coast Wolves in the NPL.

Now based in Wollongong and working at a security company, Petrovski can proudly look back on a career which also saw him once find the back of the net for the Socceroos during a 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualifier in his second and final international appearance.

David Carney – Winger

After emerging victorious in the 2006 grand final, Carney spent one more season with the Sky Blues only to return to the club nine years later, racking up a total of 16 goals and 94 appearances for the Sydneysiders before his 2018 retirement. The midfielder and defender’s illustrious career spanned 16 seasons with notable stints at Sheffield United, Norwich City and New York Red Bulls, alongside his 48 senior caps for the Socceroos.

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In 2020, Carney told Sydney FC upon receiving his UEFA Coaching License, and earlier this year expressed his intent to eventually return to coaching after his current hiatus from football.

Andrew Packer – Right-back

Following his shock retirement from football in 2010, Packer’s well-documented four-year tenure in the Australian Defence Force preceded an eventual comeback to the ALM in his role as strength and conditioning coach for the Jets.

Before hanging up the boots, however, the defender enjoyed a successful tenure in the NSL with six clubs, which included 67 appearances for Sydney Olympic, before transitioning to the ALM to play in its inaugural season with the Sky Blues. The culmination of the 2005/06 season would prove to be his final match for the club, after which he jumped ship to Brisbane Roar to play out his remaining four seasons of professional football.

Terry McFlynn – Midfielder

The Northern Irishman’s professional career in England began with Queens Park Rangers in 2000 and ended with Morecombe in 2005 before making the switch to Australia, where he would become a one-club man in his 178 appearances for the Sky Blues across nine seasons.

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Following a brief stint in the NPL for Bonnyrigg White Eagles in 2014, McFlynn has since assumed management roles at Sydney FC before departing for Perth in 2019, where he joined the Glory as an academy and women’s team manager, and later, manager of football operations.

Jacob Timpano – Centre-back

The Wollongong-born central defender began his senior career in 2002 at his hometown club, the Wolves, before joining the Sky Blues ahead of the league’s inaugural season and remaining at the club for three additional seasons. In 2009, he joined the now-defunct North Queensland Fury at the club’s inception but bizarrely went unused throughout the season, leading to his departure from the ALM entirely.

After playing five more seasons in the NPL, Timpano rejoined his boyhood club as a head coach, and has since commenced a player development management role with the PFA.

Dwight Yorke – Attacking midfielder

The legendary attacker’s senior career began in the old English First Division with Aston Villa, for which he went on to play 213 league matches and score 73 goals across eight seasons. Upon signing for Manchester United in 1998, Yorke contributed 47 goals to the Red Devils’ three consecutive Premier League-winning seasons and resultantly held the record as the Premier League’s leading non-European goal scorer for over a decade. He was subsequently well worth the hype when he signed for Sydney, following brief stints with Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City.

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The attacker contributed seven goals to the Sky Blues’ championship winning season, but left to sign for Sunderland after playing just one game in the 2006/07 ALM season. Since retiring in 2009, Yorke has continually expressed his desire to coach and has also served as a pundit on Sky Sports.

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Jimmy Alexander
Jimmy Alexander
Covering Sydney FC for the 2021/22 A-League season. Studying a Bachelor of Sports Media (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University.

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